The time I think most clearly, the time I drift away
Is on the bus-ride that meanders up these valleys of green and grey
I get to think about what might have been and what may yet come true
And I get to pass a rainy mile thinking of you
And all the while, all the while, I still hear that call
To the land of gold and poison that beckons to us all
Nothing changes here very much, I guess you'd say it never will
The pubs are all full on Friday nights and things get started still
We spent hours last week with Billy boy, bleeding, yeah queuing in Casualty
Staring at those posters we used to laugh at:
Never Never Land, palm trees by the sea
Well there was no need for those guys to hurt him so bad
When all they had to do was knock him down
But no one asks to many questions like that since you left this town

And tomorrow brings another train
Another young brave steals away
But you're the one I remember
From these valleys of green and the grey

You used to talk about winners and losers all the time - as if that was all there was
As if we were not of the same blood family, as if we live by different laws
Do you owe so much less to these rain swept hills than you owe to your good self?
Is it true that the world has always got to be something
That seems to happen somewhere else?
For God's sake don't you realise that I still hear that call
Do you think you're so brave just to go running to that which beckons to us all?

No, not for one second did you look behind you
As you were walking away
Never once did you wish any of us well
Those who had chosen to stay
And if that's what it takes to make it
In the place that you live today
Then I guess you'll never read these letters that I send
From the valleys of the green and the grey

Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death

Green And Grey song meanings
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  • +1
    General Commentthis is one of the most beautiful songs there is. that's all i can say. the music and lyrics together is just amazing.
    blackalisson March 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThe lyrics are pretty literal, and follow a common NMA theme of a letter to an old friend, or maybe a brother in this one. I'm not sure where Belfast would come into it. One guy stays in the small town where they grew up, the other follows the bright lights to the city.

    There's some descriptions of small town life, people out drinking, getting into fights, excessive violence. The stuff about the posters refers to the awful 'holiday' style posters you used to get in accident and emergency waiting rooms. A misguided attempt at trying to make the place look a bit more cheerful I suppose. Nowadays it's all adverts for ambulance chasers.

    The one who left was a 'big man' locally and painted himself as a brave adventurer when he left, off to seek his fortune elsewhere. The one who stayed is angry or maybe just sad, not because they left, but because they cut off ties with everyone they left behind.

    He asks the question, which of them is brave and which is the coward? The one who abandoned his roots and his family to find the life he wanted for himself, or the one who felt the pull of that life, but stayed behind because of his ties and responsibilities to his hometown. He knew what he was giving up, and the life he was accepting by staying, but he stayed anyway.
    badgerbadgerbadgeron November 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAfter years listening to music and spending lots of money in music and discovering new artists this song is still my #1.
    I agree with blackaliss, the best song there is.
    pablinskyon April 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah but whats it about? is it about brits going to Belfast or what? are the new model army one of these english patriotic bands ultimately? do they love the world? because i love the bands music but i hate the name - cromwells murdering army that commited genocide on Ireland or do the fans know anything about the real meaning of the new model army?
    naturesbeston December 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI interpret it as a guy (Sullivan) singing about a friend, brother, perhaps an older brother with some idolisation. The lyrics suggest what happened to Billy Boy wouldn't have happened if that person were still there, so he was a protector to an extent.

    When you grow up in a country town or village, or northern industrial green/grey town, there are people who leave and people who stay. I relate to that, I moved to Australia (palm trees by the sea). I have friends from my youth who're still there, they never left. Have I achieved anything from moving to Australia? Perhaps, or perhaps it's just different. Am I better than them for moving to a "better" place? I pitty them at times for not achieving more (winning and losing), and I never really looked back. You move on, you forget about people who used to matter.

    That's the meaning the song has to me at this point in time. I've listen to it countless times before but never really considered it. Beautiful song.
    pfedson December 06, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis track speaks to me personally as I actually come from the Leeds / Bradford area where New Model Army started as a band. Living in West Yorkshire you are always surrounded by the valleys of green and grey - green for the wood and grass covered hills and grey of the soot marked stone that is commonly used to build the local mills / buildings and terraced houses.

    Yes even now in small town West Yorkshire, places like Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax, Morley, Batley you can get your head kicked in by the locals on a Friday night for having hair longer than the approved length, still get called a 'poof' - even though I dont think gay guys ever had long hair styles frustratingly!

    Obviously the song is referring to friends / brothers etc who have since departed the small town birthplace for sunnier climes or more exciting / rewarding careers in the big smoke (London?) and few never look back. As someone who moved out of my hometown to move to a better place, albeit not that far away I can empathize with the sentiment of the lyrics. It does seem to suggest that people who leave home somehow betray their roots, but given the limited options / smalltown mentality they are escaping who can blame them? Not me, I'm one of them in a way. So from these valleys of the green and the grey, and the rain soaked hills of West Yorkshire, I send you humble greetings. And if 'Slade the Leveller' ever reads this, nice work pal!
    jonleedson June 10, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOn the face of it this song appears to describe how two people no longer see each other, one of them has moved on the other has stayed…

    But this being New Model Army suggests there are other things going on. The song seems to be dealing with loyally, and loyalty to the place where you come from.

    Well received when played live in Yorkshire, the area that the song appears to describe. Local people can connect themselves, the places described and their lives with the song.

    It’s interesting that away from the region it sometimes doesn’t go down well, perhaps either people see it as geographically not describing their own patch or maybe the listener has indeed been lured to ‘To the land of gold and poison’.

    The song ends by suggesting that by leaving you have betrayed.

    As a metaphor the song could be seen as how people are not ‘awake’ to their environment and leave in pursuit of something unattainable, forgetting their past, where they have come from and the people they have known.
    HeathAon January 16, 2020   Link
  • -1
    General Commentthis song came out on my 0th birthday
    snotface2on May 23, 2007   Link
  • -2
    General Commenttoday in 89 :D
    snotface2on June 07, 2007   Link

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